In its most basic sense, Interfaith is when people or groups from different religions come together. Interfaith cooperation includes atheists and agnostics, and people of no faith as well. Interfaith cooperation is the consciousness of bringing together people from diverse religious, spiritual, and ethical beliefs.
Interfaith dialogue, Interfaith-based action, and Interfaith-based outreach are different forms of Interfaith cooperation. Interfaith dialogue is when a group of people talk about their beliefs, Interfaith-based action is when a group of people of different beliefs do something together, and Interfaith-based outreach – when people of diverse faiths educate about religious beliefs such as teaching others about religion.
The world is currently fighting a treacherous monstrosity of a pandemic, the COVID-19. The COVID-19 situation has brought no less but destruction to the whole wide world. The effects of COVID-19 has put the economies of all the countries to a halt. It has created a drift between loved ones but has everyone closer to their faiths. The only positive outcome of the pandemic would be the intense prayers people engage with to seek their loved ones’ well-being.
Zahira College Colombo, always known for its wisdom and equality took the initiative to act on the subject of Interfaith. Zahira College’s Centre for Excellence organised the inaugural Interfaith Prayer Session, with the motive of invoking blessings to those affected by the COVID-19 and natural disasters.
The Interfaith based action, did not just invoke blessings but went on to further highlight Zahira’s stance on communal coexistence. The program was hosted by the Centre for Excellence, an ad-hoc body under the student counselling curriculam.
The program went to a captivating start, where the Director of the Centre for Excellence of Zahira College Colombo, A M Mihilar, welcomed the panel of religious leaders, College Principal, Chairman Board of Governors and the all invited dignitories. A M Mihilar, as the moderator for the program invited the Principal of the College to welcome the gathering, that was followed by the address of Chairman Board of Governors, Fouzul Hameed.
The Interfaith Prayer Session was organised to pray and invoke blessings on almost everyone scattered across the country who are aware that the pandemic has brought nothing less but tremendous pain, said the Principal of the College, Trizviiy Marikkar in his opening remarks.
The prayers asked today will bless the country to its former glory, while bringing relief to all those affected by this ongoing COVID-19 situation, said, the Chairman Board of Governors, Fouzul Hameed during his address.
Interfaith based programs as such will continue to take place, the Chairman BOG of Zahira College Colombo added.
The prayer session began with the Senior Lecturer, Bhikhsu at the University of Colombo, Ven. Karandagolla Wijithatissa Thero commenting on the importance of such programs for the betterment of the country and blessed the communities affected due to the pandemic by the power of Buddha and Dhamma.
The floor was then open to the Coordinator of Hindu Religious Affairs of the Ministry of Buddhasasana, Religious and Cultural Affairs, Dr. Sivasri Ramchandra Gurukkal Babu Sharma who emphasized the significance of all communities coming together in order to fight this pandemic as one and recited the mantra of “Om Namah Shivaya” blessing the affected to be relieved off their troubles.
The world needs unity and cooperation to overcome the effects of the pandemic, said, the Priest In-charge of the Methodist Church in Pettah, Rev. G. Sathish. In his address the Reverand quoted from the Psalm 46 that reads “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble,” to invoke blessings upon those lost in the pain.
The Secretary of the All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama, Ashshaikh Arqam Nooramith said, “let us all unite in the name of God, Alimighty Allah, and in the name of our creator, let us supplicate and appeal to him, through his support and guidance, overcome this calamity at present to have a beautiful future for ourselves and for generations to come”.
The moderator of the program, A. M. Mihilar then invited the remaining two representatives of the Islamic community, Deshabandu Qari M. H. M. Faizal for the recitation of du’a in Sinhala language and Ash-Shaikh Abdul Haleem in Tamil language.
Finally, the program concluded with the Head of Primary, M. M. Shazuli expressing the words of gratitude to all the invited dignitories on behalf of the College and organising committee.
“Never before probably has the need for interfaith commitment been nearly as great as it is at this very moment”. ~ Walter Cronkite